Friday, 10 September 2010

Finland, munsala folkdrakt and Marimekko

Here is my beautiful friend Karin in the foldrakt of her village Munsala in Northern Finland.

Folkdraft means people's dress. The blue wool of Karin's skirt and waistcoat were handwoven by a neighbour in the village, Aira Mommo and the blouse and embroidery made by her mother Birgit.

Karin wore this costume to local dance competitions, where different villagers can be told apart by the colour of their weave or the embroidery on their shirt. These dances must be a wonderful sight - Karin says the costume is very hot to wear but makes you feel really special. People also wear their folkdraft to weddings and other special social occasions

On my map, I've embroidered some of Birgit's poppy flowers onto a piece of her open work and onto the deep blue Airo's cloth. The rest of Finland (and some of Denmark) is made from the famous and rather ubiquitous Marimekko pattern Unikko or poppy.

It was only as I was sewing that I realised how the flat colouring and bold outline of Maija Isola's design is so obviously inspired by the kind of folkdraft made by Birgit and Airo: they are not infact different patterns but part of one and the same design.

Many thanks to Mikki for giving me her Marimekko bag to cut up.


  1. Hi Sarah
    I love your blog and the pattern map, so beautiful and full of stories. Are you going to exhibit the map somewhere? Is it still work in progress? Would love to see it sometime.
    Best wishes

  2. Hi Sarah
    What you have done so far is wonderful!

    I haven't got much of a story, but Joy telling me about your project got me thinking about my old Setesdal sweater my grandmother knitted for me nearly 50 years ago and I still have in the cupboard.
    It is in the pattern many people associate with Norway. I'd be happy to have a chat or meet up. When do you come to South Croydon?
    Love Kari